Varadkar warns against 'kite-flying'


MINISTER FOR Transport Leo Varadkar has cautioned his Government colleagues against “flying kites” after a Minister of State suggested private schools could not expect State support to continue at present levels.

Minister of State for Public and Commuter Transport Alan Kelly of Labour sparked a row between the Coalition partners when he said “the day of being able to give €96 million to €100 million for private schools is something that is going to come to an end”.

Mr Varadkar yesterday said he would express his views on private schools to Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn at Cabinet. He stressed no budgetary decisions had been taken.

“I’m not going to pretend to be a saint on this issue but just in general it’s not helpful to have Ministers, TDs and even people from the Opposition flying kites about potential new tax increases and cutbacks because it does frighten people,” he said.

At the Labour Party parliamentary party meeting yesterday, backbencher Michael McNamara said even the “old Etonians” in the British cabinet would not dream of diverting taxpayers’ money to fund fee-paying schools, according to an attendee.

Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn was present.

He has insisted no decisions have been made about State funding for fee-paying schools in the forthcoming budget.